Since my good friend Janet invited the Chef and I over to pick pears a while back, I have been mulling over what exactly to do with them. I could have done the usual, pear sauce, pear jam, sliced or halved pears in syrup. But that's no fun and not very creative.
So I've been browsing. A lot. Websites, blogs, Facebook pages, cookbooks, emailing with other canning nuts. Pretty sure chutney is going to be on the agenda but then today out of nowhere fellow foodie and blogger Bia Rich (Rich and Sweet on Facebook or Bia's Rich and Sweet Kitchen and she happened to be working on a pot of Pear, Raspberry and Rosemary Preserves. Hmmmmmmmm, brain cells kick on...... pears- check, raspberries- no, but I DO have blueberries in the freezer.....hmmmmm..... rosemary, yes plenty of dried and fresh but what about lavender? I have a jar of dried blossoms from my own garden (as organic as I ever plan to be) and rarely get to use it...... should I ? Could I ? Oh yes !!!!
So I loosely followed Bia's recipe and came up with this-
Pear, Blueberry and Lavender Preserves
10 cups chopped peeled, cored pears
4 cups blueberries (I used frozen I had on hand- actually ended up being about 4 1/2 cups)
1 lemon, halved lengthwise then sliced thinly and seeded
7 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 TB lavender blossoms (I used dried ones from my own garden)
In a large stockpot I combined all ingredients.
Bring to boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours- 2 hours or until thickened.
At THIS point, I went down a different track, inspired by a recipe I found on Kats Canning Tidbits in which she lets the fruit mixture (in her case, just pears) sit in a cool place for 12-24 hours (for me it will be the fridge). I wanted to get the maximum lavender essence in my preserves.
The next day, I prepared my jars as usual, reheated the preserves, filled jars with 1/4 inch head space, etc etc and processed in boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
My recipe yielded 13 half pints- and looks (and tastes) soooo yummy. I'm not sure how I want to serve this when I finally open a jar- maybe to accent a chicken salad sandwich ??